Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.  
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Film Review

You know the drill. 

Not sure if this should really be added to the list for this month, but I did spend a lovely evening with some girlfriends at MIH watching all six episodes on the first disc so I think it should count for something.  Of course the episodes were funny and romantic, but what I always like best about SEX AND THE CITY is how much they remind me of sitting around a table with my best friends.  When "The Nine" (my Carries, Charlottes, Mirandas, and yes even Samanthas) are together we speak our own language and picking up conversations right where we left off.  They know me and its always nice to be reminded of that bond.  (5 out of 5) 

"A romantic comedy with zombies..." need I say more.  Absolutely hilarious.  If you have not seen it go rent it now.  The whole concept sounds ridiculous, but that's the brillance of it... it actually is ridiculous.  Aside from the romantic comedy framework and the goofy best friend, I think what I liked most about the movie was the use of plot and cinematic mirroring.  So funny how the scene with Shaun walking to the corner shop on a normal day and a zombie day were so similar.  So funny that Yvonne's team of zombie slayers is a mirror image of Shaun's.  But the last scene of zombie-Ed playing video games in the garden shed was priceless.  Like I said rent it tonight.  (5 out of 5) 

This film was a lot like THE DA VINCI CODE- a criticism I also had of the book.  Very talky, highly scripted, quite complicated plot.  Still I did have fun with the historical mystery and glimpsing Vatican archives, even if just a fictional version was so cool, but that's just the nerd in me.  [smile]  (3 out of 5)

I first saw this super silly film when it first came out on video.  I watched it again because it was on TV.  When I watch a film like this I can't think about it or rate it in terms of a classic film, but if you think about the disaster movie genre, i.e. The Poseidon Adventure, Airplane, and Twister, then SOAP is a fantastic.  It's perfect for a good laugh.  "Spork?" "Time is tissue."  [smile] (2 out of 5)

These next few don't seem to really fit into my review scheme... they're movies I've seen before actually many times (I own them), but happened to re-watch this month.  So no stars, just a few thoughts about why I keep watching these movies. 

MY FAIR LADY:  Simply a classic.  The costumes, especially the scene at Ascot, are marvelous, music great, casting superb.  One thing that I always find difficult to understand is why Eliza settles upon Prof. Higgins as the man she loves.  With every re-watch I almost expect the ending to be different, either she strikes out on her own with her new independence or she gives in to Freddie's devotion.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the play does end differently right?

COLD MOUNTAIN:  "It's her.  She's the place I'm heading and I hardly know her. I hardly know her.  And I just can't seem to get back to her."  An epic romance set in the beauty of the North Carolina mountains.  I love the thought of Iman being spurred on toward home in response to Ada's call, "Come back to me."  To be so loved... well I'm sure it only happens in fiction and film, still its nice to think that it could happen. 

Just, Margaret

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bath Spa Station

Another lovely day out with Blair and her Vandy compatriots.  This time no rain, instead beautiful sun and just the slightest breeze.  Bath was beautiful and we hit all the sites.  The day ended with tears at the train station.  It was hard to say goodbye knowing it will be a while before we see each other again.  

Just, Margaret

Friday, May 29, 2009

Exchange by John Davis

That's the name of the book I've been reading this morning for my dissertation.  I had high hopes that this book would provide some theoretical context to understand the exchanges of hospitality during the friendly occupation period.  Oddly enough I think it would work better-specifically the concluding chapter, "Symbols and cooked breakfasts"- as a thesis on dating.  Words, materiality, and gestures associated with dating as with other forms of exchange are complex in meaning.  The meanings vary by nation or tribe, community, family or individual.  And don't forget the ever important role gender plays in the interpretation of these signals.  For this language there is no dictionary... trail and error or perhaps anthropological study might provide insight. Obvious right but sometimes it takes reading it in an academic text to really sink in.  

"People load their exchanges with meaning, and exchanges are symbols:  they have consequences not only for life itself, but for the meaning of life as well... The studies of symbols are apparently less precise than the realities of birth, death.  You can tell fairly easily whether a person is dead or alive; it is more difficult to know what someone means when they offer you bread or a stone."
Conclusion:  Text not so helpful for my dissertation, but maybe my social life so worth it I guess.  [smile]

Just, Margaret

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just in case you were wondering

Yesterday was awesome!!!! I'm just a bit happy about it all.  First I have to say the weather didn't cooperate totally... it was fairly raining when JM and Blair arrived, but most of the day we just experienced a cool breeze and that funny mixture of misty fog that I've grown to know and love (not really, but I'm being positive).  [smile]  Still it was like the old cliché... "nothing was going to rain on our parade."  I do think I need to apologize for walking them all over the city and up crazy steep hills.  I didn't realize how much work it is to walk around the city of Bristol or how many hills we have until I had guests.  (I'll try to be more gentle on Janell and Emily- my cousins- when they come next month.)  Apart from walking up and down hills in the rain, we talked, ate, just were.  The joy of having friends like Blair and JM (and the rest of The Nine) is that conversations just pick-up right where we left off.  Blair's Vandy friends were also really fun to meet and call me geeky or nerdy, but I totally loved the tour of Bristol Methodism I received as a tag-a-long.  I will say it was my 4th or 5th tour of the city, so I feel fairly confident in my ability to now act as an ambassador. [smile]

After a great dinner at Wagamama's, we put Blair on the train back to Salisbury- they actually close the gates where she is staying and we didn't want her to be locked out- and then up to the pub with JM and to meet some of the HistArchs and a MALA.  So fun though Blair was missed.  JM decided to leave the next day so she camped out on my floor and I think we stayed up an extra hour just talking about really random things, but that's old roommates for you.  Today we had what can only be called a "girly day"- shed a few tears watching the Grey's wedding episode (she hadn't seen it), had rose and vanilla cupcakes and lattes for breakfast.  Then window shopping in and out of local shops including the OxFam bookstore where I volunteer and The Mews-the wedding dress boutique mentioned in an earlier post (I repeat, just window shopping-thought JM's himself, aka boyfriend, might like clarification). [smile]  We did spend just a little money at a bead shop, but I am getting 2 custom made pairs of earrings out of the deal thanks to my crafty friend.  Then more talking and window shopping and lunch.  Finally around 3PM I put her on the train home, with promises that we'll get together again soon and promises that next time I get to meet Himself in person, which I'm totally going to hold her too even though I hear he has weird tastes in socks. (I do hope you know I'm only kidding Ian. [smile])  

So a good two days, which have actually left me recharged and ready to do some research.  Especially when I know Saturday will mean that I get to see Blair again in Bath.  BTW thanks for all the comments yesterday... it means I'm totally winning in "The Great Blog Popularity Contest" going on between me and JM.  [smile]

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Two of my best friends in Bristol... priceless.  To say I've been anticipating today is an understatement.  Showing them around, eating out in some of my favorite places, sharing my ex-pat life with home. I'm mostly looking forward the opportunity to just to be the me I am with my best friends.  Not that I don't feel like I can be myself when in Bristol, but there is just something about being with people who really know you that makes it so much easier, you know.  Today is a gift and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.  

Just, Margaret

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"A heart strangely warmed..."

I was reminded this evening that tonight is a very special night in Methodist history.  I think I'll mostly leave this post with the words of John Wesley the founder of Methodism, who like my good friend I am also quite partial to. 

24 May 1738
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  

About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.  

I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine and saved me from the law of sin and death.  
In MethSoc worship this evening that began around five to nine, in the country of Wesley's birth and much of his ministry, as silly as it sounds I too felt a singular heart warming as these thoughts were read aloud to the small group gathered at the chaplaincy.   Mine was a feeling of gratitude for the experience of this man 271 years earlier that has so shaped my life.  Wesley's warmed heart was a part of the plan God had for my family.  My parents met at youth camp retreat at Epworth by the Sea (in Georgia) essentially because of this event in 1738.  I may not be a direct descendant of Wesley, but I do consider him an ancestor.  The words also serve as a reminder to me of the need to keep open my heart to receive God and to remain aware of these significant "epiphany"/"Pentecost" moments.  I'm not one of our family's pastors so I'm not going to try to preach any further, but I will close with a short verse of scripture I read this morning while at Quaker Meeting (another Wesley connection, but I won't go into all that now) that I think reinforces Wesley's thoughts.  
Acts 2:25-28 (emphasis my own)
   I saw the Lord always before me, 
     Because he is at my right hand, 
     I will not be shaken.  
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
     my body also will live in hope.
because you will not abandon me to the grave, 
     nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 
You have mad know to me the paths of life; 
     You will fill me with joy in your presence. 
Just, Margaret

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One minute I was walking down the sidewalk...

and the next I was (how can I put this politely) sprayed from above by a shower of bird droppings.  [pausing for laughter]  You finished laughing yet.  I know its funny.  My first thoughts oscillated between whether to laugh or cry.  Then I got caught up in the reality of having guano in my hair.  Now after an extra hot, extra long shower when I used up the last of my favorite smelling shampoo that I brought from the US by washing my hair three times I still feel a little nauseous thinking about the whole episode. Further my body is as pink as my robe from being completely scrubbed to death.  Doesn't matter that I only found the droppings on my wrists (in an odd mirror like position... the bird must have had good aim), there was no way I was emerging from that shower with any bird cooties.  Still I have this weird feeling that somehow despite the triple dose of shampoo it is still in my hair.  [uhhhhh]  

In the shower I did have some time to reflect on why this might have happen and how I can go on with my life now that I have been used as a bird's loo.  [smile]  And these are some of the things I came up with.  
  • Ironically, just yesterday I skimmed an newspaper article about birds, from THE DAILY MAIL I think.  It was about how some scientists have proven that birds can remember people.  The context was a bit different (pet birds instead of your average pigeon), but I can't help but wonder what I did to this bird to get him/her to react in such a way.  Sure its been a while since I've "fed the birds", but I don't go around kicking pigeons.  I actually used to think they were sweet.  
  • What I never realized about being showered by bird droppings is that its a whole sensorial experience.  Before the smell or sight hits you, there is the sound.  SPLATT!  I heard the sound, felt something akin to a brief shower of rain, looked around for the source, then reached up to touch my head and horror of horrors my fingers came back with a bit of brown stuff.  [uhhhh] Finally the smell.  So the answer to the age-old question is that "yes you do hear the sound of bird droppings fall before you smell them."
  • Now about the shirt I was wearing when the incident occurred.  My blue oxford button-up from Gap is one of my favorite go-to pieces of clothing, when I can't decide what else to wear.  Now its sitting in my sink with stain treatment that I hope will get out all the physical residue of "the event".  Problem is even Shout! with Oxy-clean can't erase the memory. I'm afraid it will forever be ingrained in my mind as "the shirt that I was wearing when...". [smile]  I might have to relegate it to the "to be worn on digs pile", especially if the stains of which I counted about eight (apparently the bird was really angry with me) refuse to come out.  
  • Finally a bit of philosophy, it occurs to me that there is nothing better to teach one humility than to be defecated on by a bird. Let me explain... living in a pedestrian culture I have learned that some days you walk and some days you strut.  The sidewalks can either just remain sidewalks or they can be your personal catwalk.  Today, spent mostly behind my computer or in a cafe reading was more of a just walking day (though I did think my hair looked particularly good), but it occurs to me that I could have as easily been showered with bird droppings on a strutting day.  You might say that guano from the sky is the great equalizer.  It can happen to anyone and is a really good reminder that we are all just human.   
One last thing, if you happen to get into a similar situation do not spend time looking up how best to clean it off clothes.  Not because there aren't any sites offering advice, but because you will also be barraged with CDC warnings to avoid bird droppings because they are rife with disease.  Just to say I was already feeling vulnerable enough as it is, I do not want to think about catching bird flu from this experience, too.  [smile] 

Just, Margaret

Summertime and the living is easy

Predictions out for our bank holiday weekend weather:  in the 70s and SUNNY!!!  We've had several days in a row of sunny mornings and rainy (real proper rain... remind me and I'll explain later) afternoons.  I do hope the predictions will hold true.  Saturday I have a BBQ I'm attending and I'd rather not be soaked.  

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2 out of 9, soon to be 3

[diabolical smile]  My master plan to get all "The Nine" to become expats with me is working out just as I hoped.  So maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration... some of the Nine already settled into lives in the States (homes, jobs, appendages*), but today the UK becomes the home to one of my other halfs... or ninths. [smile]  Jane Marie- roommate of 4 years, best friend since freshman year- is moving here!!!  And in 3 short days another "bestie" Blair will be in the country too!!!  Can you tell that I'm excited?  U.K.- Consider yourself warned.  Beware "The Nine" invasion!

Just, Margaret 

*Appendages in "The Nine"-speak equals husbands.  Sounds harsh I know, but its really a term of endearment. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New music and teary eyed

Another morning at the Bristol Record Office, searching the Lord Mayor's archive from the War Years.  Anyway, I keep having the problem of getting teary over all the letters and accounts I’m reading.   I’m writing this with the knowledge that it may make me sound very crazy. (Though I think knowing I might sound crazy probably denotes that I am not in fact insane.)  The outpouring of goodwill, support (financial and otherwise) for the people of Bristol who were blitzed overwhelms my heart.  Little kids in Britain and in the States were collecting shillings or pence for the people who needed help with bake sales, music performances, homemade crafts.  I can’t imagine what community support like that is like.  Maybe if I'm lucky someday I too will witness something like this.  Amazing.  So yeah, I'm teary-eyed, but with good reason don't you think?

Oh and the song above is a new favorite.  Band is Dayplayer, song: "Neverending Summer." As seen on Bones season finale.  I've realized lately that I really love pop music.  Spoon, Tinted Windows, and now Dayplayer are my summer soundtrack.  Okay, just for fun... another song by Dayplayer, completely different from the other, called "Peak."  

Just, Margaret

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Optimist's Daughter

Part of my relaxing Sabbath included finishing reading the above mentioned book by Eudora Welty.  With some books as I approach the end, my reading slows to savor the moments, others I just rush through to check them off my "have read" list.  With The Optimist's Daughter, the pace speed up, but not to rush toward the conclusion, but to discover the end.  The action was fairly slow.  The relationships developed in this short novel were fascinating.  Its the story of a woman dealing with death.  Laurel the title character is both tragic and hopeful in her approach.  She is essentially left completely alone.  The meat of the book deals with her process of grief through the funeral and inventorying of the house.  I'd never read Welty before that I remember, but I found her storytelling simplistic and profound.  Below are just a few passages that caught my eye.  

     The guilt of outliving those you love is justly to be borne, she thought. Outliving is something we do to them. The fantasies of dying could be no stranger than the fantasies of living. Surviving is perhaps the strangest fantasy of them all. 
     All of them wandered toward the rose bed... Sienna-bright leaves and thorns like spurts of match-flame had pierced through the severely cut-back trunk.  If it didn't bloom this year, it would next:  "That's how gardeners must learn to look at it," her mother would say.
     Memory returned like spring, Laurel thought.  Memory had the character of spring.  In some cases, it was the old wood that did the blooming.

      She ran her finger in a loving track across 'Eric Brighteyes' and 'Jane Eyre,' 'The Last Days of Pompeii' and 'Carry On, Jeeves.'  Shoulder to shoulder, they had long sence made their own family.  For every book here she had heard their voices, father's and mother's.  And perhaps it didn't matter to them, not always, what they read aloud; it was the breath of life flowing between them, and the words of the moment riding on it that held them in delight.  Between some two people every word is beautiful, or might as well be beautiful. 
Consider picking it up and transporting yourself to Mississippi for a few hours.  By the way if you needed further motivation , The Optimist's Daughter is a Pulitzer Prize winner.  
Just, Margaret

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Makeshift clothesline

Sunday is usually laundry day for me.  Let me explain a bit about my laundry situation.  First you must understand that until this point I've led a charmed life, well at least in regards to washing and drying my clothes.  [smile] The laundry rooms of my childhood homes (we only lived in one at a time, we just moved a lot) were my parent's, mostly my mom's, domain.  We were asked to help out around the house (make our beds every day, set the table, clean our rooms, fold clothes ect.), but until I was getting ready to go to college I didn't know how to work the washer or dryer.  Then at LaGrange College I continued to live my laundry fairy tale.  Okay I was quickly introduced to the curse of trying to secure a free washer or dryer, but I through my entire college career I did not have to pay for one load of laundry.  Yes you read that correctly.  LaGrange College in addition to challenging minds and inspiring souls also treats their on campus students to free laundry facilities.  I'd say waiting for an open machine was a small price to pay.  Then again when I moved to North Dakota and Louisiana still no coin operated machines for me.  In North Dakota I actually had a pair of machines just for me, so no waiting!  It was great.  

So I guess it was just a matter of time that eventually I would be introduced to the real world of coin operated laundry machines.  And what better place than here. Luckily MIH does have a washing machine on site so I don't have to walk with a heavy duffle of laundry to a laundromat.  Not so luckily, we don't have a dryer... a drying room yes, but no dryer.  This has taken some time to get used to, but mostly it works okay.  Except for this week.  This is an old house and the boiler has been on the fritz, the heat of which helps keep the drying room warm.  Consequently the room is full as its taking longer for things to dry and I'm left with trying to find a space for my clothes.  I got about half of my laundry in the room, but the other half are back in my room "hanging out." (Sorry for the pun... it was just too perfect. [smile])  I've got them hanging in my open window, hoping our rain won't come back this afternoon.  Actually I'm not sure how much good hanging them in my open window is doing, because its quite cloudy and chilly today.  I'm counting on my good laundry karma.  Here's hoping it works.  

Just, Margaret

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eurovision 2009 and Dream Interpretation

The United States is poorly served by our exclusion from the EU... not economically or diplomatically, but because it means we aren't exposed to the awesomeness that is EUROVISION!  [smile] Cable networks in the U.S. are really missing an opportunity to capitalize on this oh-so-European phenom.  A combo of Miss Universe traditional costuming and 80s dance music... it totally eclipses American Idol audition weeks with the addition of spectacular IT effects.  Good thing we have YouTube.  Search Eurovision and then tell me you think we're not missing out.  [wink]  Especially can't-be-missed performances include Hungary, Greece, and Albania.  The above clip is the entry from Cyprus... the first song I happened to catch. 

Jos, fellow histarch, author of "Researching Life," and good friend, is also into dream interpretation in her spare time. After reading my post earlier this week about the odd dream I had, she sent me these interpretative tools below. Gives a whole new dimension to my refusing to eat a hamburger. Gotta say some of it feels fairly to the point... anxiety is a pre-requisite to dissertation writing and finishing up my fifth month apart from the familiarity of home, family, and friends isn't really helping.  Then again maybe I just don't like hamburgers anymore. [smile]  Thanks Jos.
Food is seen as a metaphor to fulfill and gratify our hunger of love and desires
Also consider the pun, "what's eating you up?" in reference to anxiety that you may be feeling.
Food can represent love, friendship, ambition or pleasure in your life. Thus, food is seen as a metaphor to fulfill and gratify our hunger of love and desires. If you are refusing to eat, then it indicates that you want to be more independent and not rely on others so much. If you dream that you are a picky eater, than it indicates that you are holding back something.

To see or eat a hamburger in your dream, suggests that you are lacking some emotional, intellectual, or physical component you need in order to feel whole again. You may be feeling unsatisfied with some situation or relationship. It is also symbolic of your experiences and how you need to learn from them. Look at the big picture.
Just, Margaret

Friday, May 15, 2009

Photo on a Friday, but not "Photo Friday"

I took this photo while in Wales last weekend (with a little photo shop magic).  Something about the dove felt so evocative to the peace I felt that day.  I waited for several minutes to capture the bird in flight, but wasn't able to get the image I was looking for.  Still I think this one is pretty great.  

Just, Margaret

3rd Anniversary

Some of you know what tomorrow is because you share this anniversary with me, others are celebrating the event for the first time, and still others are celebrating with many more years attached.  Tomorrow is LaGrange College graduation day.  I remember that day really well... lots of excitement, lots of tears, lots of hugs, lots of goodbyes, then lots of packing, and more tears driving away.  It was a good day.  You know, though I think I almost enjoyed the day before better, well, specifically the night before, the last night in my college dorm with my best friends.  Amidst all the boxes we all felt so excited.  It was electric.  The idea that our lives would change completely the next day I guess was in the back of our minds, but I just remember the feeling of enjoying to the fullest that last night of college.  It was a special time.  Congratulations on those of you joining the ranks of LC alumni tomorrow!  Enjoy your last night to the fullest.  

Just, Margaret

P.S. Maybe you've already read this, maybe not, but a recent post by a best friend reminded me this day needed to be celebrated.  That second picture is of that special last night.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mama!!

Not sure what to write today, not because I don't have a lot to say, more like I have so much I could say.  My mother is an amazing woman with a caring spirit.  She lives fully into her roles of wife and mother.  She is also a nurse.  She's been a RN forever (at least forever in my world). She's worked in hospitals, nursing homes, teaching other nurses, an OB-GYN, and now she's working for our local hospice.  And I have to say her commitment to care for others is one of the things I most admire about her.  Its an outward manifestation of her beautiful spirit and faith and needless to say an inspiration for myself and my sisters.  Anyway... I could go on listing more things I admire about her or reflecting upon our friendship and how blessed I feel to have a mother who chooses to be so much a part of my life... listening, talking, laughing.  I think I'll stop here though, except to say:  I love you, Mama, and it is a blessing to celebrate your life with you today.  

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Odd dream/nightmare

Last night I dreamed I had to eat two McDonald's hamburgers.  The weird part is that it felt more like a nightmare and when I'm thinking about it now the thought of eating the burgers makes me feel kinda sick.  So I was wondering if its an indication that being a pescatarian is becoming more ingrained in my psyche.  They say when you begin to dream in a foreign language it means you're really beginning to conquer the language.  Then again McDonald's hamburgers might be frightening even if you are eating meat.  

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Its good to be exhausted.

MIH Group Photo

Saturday I joined most of the other student residents of my house for the annual "Day Out."  Loaded in a big coach with picnic supplies, we headed to Wales borderlands (Tintern Abbey and the Osc Valley to be exact).  What a fun day we had despite the chilly wind and occasional spot of rain.  We did see a bit of sun and my cheeks are rosy and have that warm summery feeling I've missed so far this spring.  What follows are a few photos and a peek into my thoughts for the day... which includes some brief journaling I did while on site hence the stream of consciousness form.  Something about just having a day to relax opened up my soul.  The landscape, though beautiful in its uniqueness, was also reminiscent of the North
 Georgia mountains.  So the day was a strange combination of remembering and creating new memories. A significant day for me in ways I don't feel completely able to express yet.  
It is nice to be reminded why you love something/one.  Wandering around Tintern Abbey, I suddenly have this feeling of peace that I am doing what I love, that ruins still entrance me with their memory.  "A lonely ruin what does it tell us about humanity." The poetry of space... It is so lovely to just wander and make up my own story.  Very different feeling to my field trips with my course.  Laughter with questions. 

A word for the sound of water.  Someone asked me if the English language had a word for the sound of the water flowing, falling.  Suddenly English seems so inadequate.   

When was the last time I lay down in a grassy field like this... years ago I think. [smile]

Hope you enjoyed the brief tour of my Saturday.    
Just, Margaret

Monday, May 11, 2009

A painted night sky

Its five to nine here in Bristol and the traces of our beautiful sunny Spring day are still visible in the sky.  Its getting darker, but I can still clearly see people walking on the side walk and houses across the street.  I love that we're having so much sun, but without the oppressive heat of a Georgia summer.  This is exactly what I would call perfect "porch weather".  It does wonders for my soul this sun.  One problem:  it makes it hard to think about going to sleep.  And I'm so a full 8 hours girl.  [smile]  Anyway the whole scenario reminded me of this children's book my parents used to read to me.  It was all about a young child who couldn't fall asleep in summer at her appropriate bedtime because the sun was still "awake".  As a solution her parents painted a shade for her window of the night sky, with a star, sliver of a moon, and an owl (or at least that's how I remember it).  I always thought it was so magical that she could just pull down the shade and it would be nighttime.  

I'm so thankful for my childhood.  I always felt so safe and loved.  So many memories I could share... sack swings, a tree house, our little plastic kitchen, Skippy the duck, and Pumpkin the guinea pig.  I should probably write these things down. I'm always telling others, namely my grandparents and other older adults I run into, that they need to preserve their memories for later generations.  Guess I should follow my own advice.  My life as a 25 year old is so future focused, but that I shouldn't take time to reflect about my journey so far.  
I'm still sitting at my desk looking out my window and the sky is considerably darker.  I think its safe to say that night has fallen on Bristol.  The first stars would be visible if I didn't live in the city.  Guess I'll start evening rituals, perhaps read a little, and seek rest and renewal.  Sweet dreams. 

Just, Margaret

All together now, we are the boys!

I decided to listen to some more of the cds I hadn't considered in a while. Now I'm rediscovering Big River.  There is this song at the beginning of the musical about Huck Finn and all his friends making plans for their gang.  When it started to play I had this picture of my sisters and I dancing around to this song when we were little.  Mostly we were content in our imagineering to remain girls, but whenever we listened to "We are the boys" I'm sure we all fought over who was going to  play Huck.  

Just, Margaret


A quick post a la "Keeping up with Katie":  I've been in a music rut for the last month, just listening to my playlist of top-rated music from all the thousands of tracks I have.  Today, while I'm working, I'm listening to Les Miserable from start to finish... something I don't think I've done since moving here.  I love rediscovering why I've always loved this music.  "The world is full of happiness I have never known."  

Just, Margaret

Friday, May 8, 2009


This is the week of short posts... maybe I'll get a little existential next week.  Anyway the silly paragraph below will explain the title.  

I just finished watching the 100th episode of Grey's Anatomy.  Yes I hate to admit it but I am one of those people, a diehard Grey's fan.  I can't think of an episode I've missed.  I like the characters, but will admit that the last season and a half have been not so great.  I think the reason I've stuck with the show is because it reminds me of my college years.  Sitting around on Sunday nights, then Thursdays (though I never liked that it changed nights) in the common room with the rest of the girls were some of the most fun times.  Really.  When it aired on Sundays it would sometimes be the first time we'd see each other after weekends away.  So that's why I like the show, back to last week's episode.  I can't say that I didn't see it (the twist) coming, but that doesn't mean I could cut off the waterworks.  You'd think that I had attended a real wedding.  And the whole the best days of your life business, well, I'm beginning to cry again.  Though my friends will attest that this is "just Margaret, being Margaret."  I cry at sappy movies, Hallmark commercials, weddings, and often at the end of a good book.  Happy tears and sad, they're all good.  The only thing that could make the episode better would be sitting in the common room of our apartment in Candler (LCers-No way that I can ever call it Hawkins.  [smile]) with my friends watching it of course.  

Just, Margaret 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Top Sales

Today I picked up an extra shift of volunteering at our local Oxfam charity book shop.  Since moving to Clifton Village, I've stopped by the bookshop at least twice a month.  Most of the time trying very hard to resist buying another book.  It definitely helps to have the local branch of the library right across the street.  On more than one occasion I've found a book I'd like to buy then run over to the library and borrowed it. [smile]  Anyway I decided a couple of weeks ago that I'd really like to volunteer a couple of hours a week at the shop to bring a little stability to my schedule and hopefully to take advantage of the opportunity to meet a few more people in my neighborhood.  I've worked a couple of times so far and its been really great.  Today was my first shift totally by myself and it went really well.  The manager checked the afternoon sales and they were about equal to all that was sold yesterday.  Perhaps this is because Thursday gets sales from people anticipating the free time for the weekend, maybe it was just a fluke.  I like to think the spike in sales was because of the extra sweet smile of the Georgia "Peach" behind the counter.  My mission to spread Southern hospitality wherever I go seems fairly secure.

Just, Margaret  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Library days or daze

Conducting some preliminary research yesterday and today at the Bristol Central Library.  I've found some useful information, still waiting to hit that perfect source that will open up the whole dialogue of my dissertation.  But sitting at my desk in the library now all I can focus on is my need of some caffeine either in the form of tea or coffee.  I guess I underestimated my level of addiction today.  I'm usually able to skip a morning or two during the week... this should not have been one of those mornings.  Think I'll pop down to the library cafe and check out the fare before I take on the microfiche.  [smile]

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wisdom of The Mews

One of my favorite pastimes is just walking around the streets in Clifton Village, where I live.  Its not a particularly large commercial area, but the shops are all quirky and you never know what you'll find.  I should also clarify that Clifton is the "posh" area of Bristol so mostly I just window shop.  Just a few feet from my front door is a small bridal boutique and each week they change the dress in the window. Some of the dresses I've liked, others I can't imagine ever wearing.  Last week the dress in the window was perfect... simple, understated, and sweet.  In saying all that I know it must sound like I'm one of those girls who when she was little planned out all that day would entail, but I promise I'm not, really.  My little sisters and I used to pretend with our box of dress up clothes and baby dolls, but I can't remember a time when we imagineered a wedding, except maybe between Ken and Barbie.  [smile]  Despite that I must have over the years of watching movies and flipping through family photo albums arrived at some idea of what I might like because looking at the dress I just knew.  

Anyway, all of that is just a way to explain why I happened to find myself in a bridal boutique last week in conversation with the manager.  What was really more significant with the encounter than finding out who designed the dress and the name of the design was the advice the boutique manager imparted.  With my negative response to her question of whether I was shopping with a particular date in mind, she said "just remember that you can't find the perfect man.  We're not perfect so how can we expect them to be."  It was as if she was saying the perfect dress may be attainable, but that's about all I can promise you for your wedding day.  Anyway the whole encounter just struck me as quite unique and the woman to be particularly wise... maybe it was her years of experience with fussy brides.  Like I said, you never know what you'll find while window shopping.

Just, Margaret 

Monday, May 4, 2009


Last Tuesday I attended a pub night with my host Rotary Club.  A little ways out from Bristol, we met at a pub that had a skittles alley.  If you're not sure what I'm talking about see definition.  Sounds like it should be a lot like ten pin bowling right?  Well, its not really.  The scale is completely different and though I'm not a great bowler, after trying both I think it really takes much more skill to play skittles.  Just in case you ever find yourself in an English pub getting ready to play, I'll enlighten you to some of the "tricks," literally from the ground up.  Beware the skittles alley.  It's slanted... purposely and not visible to the naked eye.  Arched in the middle making the task of aligning the ball with the pins decidedly more difficult.  Then take the skittles, aka pins, themselves.  They are shorter than bowling pins.  Their shape with the bulging part in the middle make them harder to hit with the wooden ball, which is deceptively heavy and is just the right size to pass directly through the skittles formation without touching a single pin.  Still its a fun game and because it takes considerable skill or great luck to play well, there's little danger of anyone taking the idea of competition too seriously.  

skittle |ˈskitl|noun
1 ( skittles) [treated as sing. ] a game played, chiefly in Britain, with wooden pins, typically nine in number, set up at the end of an alley to be bowled down with a wooden ball or disk.
2 a pin used in the game of skittles.

Just, Margaret

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday night serenades

At least once a week (usually on Saturday) I’m treated to the musical stylings of one or more Bristol “boy bands.” These accapello groups seem to gravitate toward my street in hopes, I presume, to win my affection with their vocal prowess, aka the MY FAIR LADY clip above. [smile] Okay so maybe that’s not entirely true. In fact I’m fairly sure serenading me isn’t top on their Saturday night agenda. Really its just a consequence of their primary goal- getting drunk. Nonetheless I hear them and though some may consider their loud ramblings obnoxious, I choose to consider it a reason to smile. It really is quite funny... I’ve yet to hear any group that might turn the ear of the Britain’s Got Talent judges. Some of the time I can’t even understand what they are singing. Lets just say annunciation isn’t key. I guess this is just a consequence of living in a city with an active nightlife.

Just, Margaret